MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — The No. 13 ranked MSU women’s soccer team earned an automatic berth to this year’s national tournament after winning a fourth straight NSIC tournament title.
We caught up with MSU, the number one seeded team in the central region tourney.
“It’s something that we work all year for to achieve. The conference title is something that we take a lot of pride in, and we always work for. To defend our title was huge, and to get the one–seed was amazing especially since we have the opportunity to host,” said Jenny Vetter, MSU sophomore.
The three-loss MSU-Mavericks are playing some of their best soccer this season, fresh off another tournament title where MSU avenged two regular-season losses by defeating U–Mary in a shootout and winning the title in dominant fashion, 3–0 over Concordia St. Paul.
With that, MSU punched its ticket to a ninth straight NCAA tournament appearance.
“Having an opportunity to earn that one–seed after what this group has endured this season with injuries thrown at us. It’s been the most resilient team I’ve ever coached. They’ve never quit believing, they kept fighting, and it’s a real testament to the will and character of this group for what they’ve put in and fought through as this season has endured on. I’m super proud of them for that,” said Brian Bahl, MSU head coach.
The Mavericks started off the season with a couple of big tests, by squaring off against two of the top five ranked teams in the nation.
MSU answered with statement wins over Central Missouri and Grand Valley State.
“When we scheduled that, we knew it would be a daunting challenge. I think there were times after we scheduled it where we scratched our head and said what did we get ourselves into? They came into that weekend ranked number one and four in the nation. You see those two teams sitting there and say can we get out of there with one win, and we’ll be sitting pretty good. To come out of there with two wins, it let our team know that hey, we can do this. We have a special group here. We can accomplish some tremendous things this season,” said Bahl.
“Since the four years that I’ve been here, that’s our big games. Since I’ve been here, we haven’t been able to pull it off. To accomplish it, that set a huge bar for our team, that showed us that we are capable of going far in the tournament, and we are capable of having a national championship and just being a great team,” said Alexa Rabune, MSU senior.
MSU sets out to begin a national title run this coming Sunday.
“We just need to keep our composure and play our game. We know we can do it, we just need to play our game,” said Rabune.
The Mavericks will play host to either Augustana or Central Oklahoma in the Central Region Semifinals at 1 p.m. on Sunday.